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News brief: Moose country blockade urgently needs reinforcements

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KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – Activists camped out in Digby County to protect mainland moose habitat from clearcutting are urgently asking for reinforcements.

Six loggers in three trucks arrived at a newly established second encampment this morning at 5 AM. “We refused to move but really are only set up to block big equipment. They drove around us headed presumably for where they have equipment,” a message sent this morning to the Nova Scotia Advocate states. “It is assumed they have gone to get larger equipment left elsewhere beyond the encampment.”

The second encampment had been established yesterday. It’s not clear how many people were at the blockade at the time the loggers arrived.

The forest protectors have had a continuous presence in the area since October 21. 

They are worried because of sightings of mainland moose in the same area, a threatened species in steep decline, with some estimates that only around 100 remain in the province. 

“In the past two weeks work has begun expanding and extending logging roads in the southern pod. This is in preparation for further extensive clearcutting in the area. New cuts totalling 1150 acres have been approved by our own government, half of them AFTER the Nova Scotia Supreme Court severely reprimanded the Department of Lands and Forestry for failing to fulfill its legal obligations under the Endangered Species Act,” a recent press release by the group states.

See also: Mike Lancaster on Lands and Forestry and protecting the mainland moose: “Something is not working, that much is clear”

In a landmark decision in May a Nova Scotia Supreme Court judge ruled that the province has failed to live up to its legal obligations to protect species at risk, and has ordered the minister of lands and forestry to get its act together. The mainland moose was one of the six species singled out in the case, which was launched by private citizens. 

The Moose Country activists are calling for an immediate moratorium on all proposed and current  logging on Crown lands from Fourth Lake south to the Napier River in Digby County.  This must remain in force until ecologically based landscape use planning for the area has  been conducted by independent ecologists and biologists, as recommended by Dr. Lahey, The land should be assessed for Protected Area  potential, safeguarding connectivity between the Silver River Wilderness area and the  Tobeatic, the group writes.  

If you can go and join the forest protectors TODAY (Monday Nov 23) – please contact Debbie for directions at 902 665 2355 /cell 902 840 0481 d.giffin@bellaliant.net

See also: Letter: The clock is ticking – Lands and Forestry must address its “chronic and systemic failure” to protect mainland moose

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